Latin America development bank axes chief after ethics probe
Inter-American Development Bank, IDB, President Mauricio Claver-Carone, speaks to the press in La Paz, Bolivia, January 15, 2020. An investigation into the former Trump official who heads Latin America’s biggest development bank found evidence that he carried on a romantic relationship with his chief of staff. (AP Photo/Juan Karita, File)

MIAMI (AP) — Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank have voted to fire its president, Mauricio Claver-Carone, after an ethics probe found he likely carried on an intimate relationship with a subordinate whose salary he raised, a person familiar with the vote told The Associated Press.

The governors from the IADB’s 48 members had until Tuesday to vote electronically on whether to sack Claver-Carone following a unanimous recommendation last week by the bank’s board to fire one of the first American to lead the bank in its 63-year history.

But enough ballots had been cast by Monday afternoon to meet the necessary quorum, the person said.

An investigation conducted at the board’s request determined that Claver-Carone violated ethics rules by giving a 40 per cent salary increase to his chief of staff, with whom he had a romantic relationship from at least 2019, when both worked at the White House, according to a copy of the report obtained by the AP.

Claver-Carone has denied ever having a relationship with his top aide and said that the investigation, conducted by New York law firm Davis Polk, was seriously flawed.

But the bank’s executive board was persuaded by evidence including a “contract” the two purportedly drew up on the back of a place mat in the summer of 2019 while they dined at a steakhouse in Medellin, Colombia. Both were there attending the annual meeting of the Organization of American States.

In it, they allegedly outline a timeline for divorcing their spouses and getting married. There is also a “breach clause” stating that any failure to fulfill the terms would bring “sadness and heartbreak” that could only be mitigated by “candlewax and a naughty box” from an oceanfront hotel in Claver-Carone’s native Miami.

While investigators found no evidence that Claver-Carone broke the bank’s travel policies to cover up the romance, it faulted him for not fully cooperating with their probe. It also said he likely violated the bank’s conflict of interest policy, which bans managers from employment decisions on behalf of individuals with whom they have an intimate relationship when he unilaterally awarded his aide a 40 per cent salary increase.

The Inter-American Development Bank is the biggest multilateral lender to Latin America, disbursing as much as $23 billion every year in efforts to alleviate poverty in the region. The US is the largest shareholder, with 30 per cent of voting rotes.

Claver-Carone was elected president in the final months of the Trump administration despite grumblings from Democrats and some others in the region.

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